Iowan of the Day

Since 1997, the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation and Cookies Food Products partner to honor outstanding Iowans at each year’s Iowa State Fair. We look for individuals across the state who personify the greatness of Iowa with a strong work ethic, loyalty to helping others, and an exceptional sense of Iowa pride.

Every year, 10 nominees are named Iowan of the Day, receiving a special day of recognition at the Fair. As Iowan of the Day, winners receive the following:

  • Four Iowa State Fair admission tickets
  • An introduction on the Anne & Bill Riley Stage
  • Four Grandstand show tickets for their day
  • Privilege to use the Iowan of the Day golf cart for the day
  • VIP parking
  • Accommodations at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown
  • $200 cash

View a full list of the past Iowans of the Day since the program's inception in 1997.

Do you know someone who commits their life to bettering your community? Someone who deserves to be acknowledged for their efforts? Be sure they receive the recognition they deserve! Nominate your shining star by July 1 for this year’s Fair.

Download a nomination form here. Forms can also be requested by calling 515-262-3111 ext. 371. All nominations are considered for 3 years.

Nominees must be residents of Iowa. Each nomination is evaluated on a number of things, including community involvement, volunteerism, personal achievements, and involvement with youth to name a few. Nominators should provide us with supplemental materials that emphasize these areas such as testimonials, photos, newspaper articles and letters of recommendation. Any information that shows our judges the greatness of your nominee is welcomed! A sample nomination application from 2010 is available here. Or, watch our nomination video to see what to include!

Jody Reynolds – Des Moines
Jody joined the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C., and worked in Vietnam and South Korea. She was among the first American women to serve in the Vietnam War - an experience that no doubt fueled her lifelong desire to always serve others. Jody and her husband Stan became involved with Variety - The Children’s Charity. The couple has devoted their lives to serving children who are sick or have special needs. Jody’s passion and drive led her to become the first female president of Variety - The Children’s Charity of Iowa and the first female president of Variety International. Jody helped raise over $100 million in her lifetime for Variety.
Carol Jebens - Delhi
Carol has been part of organizing and volunteering for the annual Easter egg hunt, blood drives and Christmas tree lightings. She also takes care of the local cemetery as well as numerous park and memorial projects. Carol has led the way for fundraising on behalf of Camp Courageous, the local fire department and EMT, and the baseball and soccer leagues in her community. Carol routinely collects food and donations for the local food pantry and gives generously to her school’s “Dollars for Scholars” program. She is also an active volunteer with “Change a Child’s Story” literacy project, which involves reading with children on Wednesday mornings and then in the evening at the public library.
Buffi Honeck – State Center
Buffi has dedicated countless hours to the improvement of State Center. She serves as a board member of the Gutekunst Public Library where she co-wrote a grant that provides free access to patrons of the library to several central Iowa educational/cultural sites. Buffi is a member of several civic organizations and serves on numerous boards. Most notably, Buffi has chaired the Rose Festival Board for seven years and arranged for the Bill Riley Talent Search to be at the town’s festival for the first time this year. She also holds positions on the Rose Garden Board as well as Parks and Recreation and played an important role in the procurement and installation of a splash pad at the Kauffman City Park in State Center.
Aaron Van Beek – Sioux Center
At the age of 20, Aaron had a vision to bring Honor Flights to his area. As a junior in college, he had already brought Wreaths Across America to his hometown, ensuring that no Veteran is forgotten. Aaron’s foresight and passion to give back to his American Heroes is overwhelming. The Midwest Honor Flight was accepted into the National Honor Flight Network in March of 2017. Aaron has orchestrated four successful missions so far, serving over 300 Veterans. The details and logistics that go into an honor flight is a massive undertaking. He volunteers approximately 200 hours every month just with this project. Aaron is also heavily involved as a volunteer with Boy Scouts, Sons of the American Legion and Wreaths Across America.
Kelsey Bumsted – Solon
Kelsey is an exemplary role model and prominent leader in her small town of Solon, Iowa who endlessly volunteers for the betterment of her community and its residents. Kelsey is “ALL IN” for Solon Community Schools and has served in many different capacities from PTO treasurer, or working at the book fair, to volunteering as a resource for Kindergarten round up, all for the success of Solon Community School District. In addition to her support of the school, Kelsey is known for her work and efforts for making Solon a better place to live. She is active within the community by serving on the Parks and Recreation Board. In doing so, she has been instrumental in breaking ground for Solon’s new Splash Pad and Batting Cages.
Warren Van Dyke – Greene
Warren has always believed strongly in supporting his community and church. Through the years he has helped with the first and second “Good Old River Days” festival, held positions as state director and president of the Iowa Jaycee’s, served as a board member on Lake Odessa Duck’s Unlimited and started a Pheasant Forever chapter in Lousia County. Having a passion for education, Warren served for six years on the school board. He also donated to flood relief in Greene County with the Butler County Pork Promoters, an organization that Warren has been a proud member of for 20+ years. The pork promoters also give donations to local food banks and gives out scholarships in their community.
Richard McClure - Sidney
Dick retired in 2000 after working for the ISU Extension Service for 43 years. During those years, he took 4-Hers to Washington D.C. 12 times to attend the Citizenship/Washington Focus learning experience. Dick received the Iowa State Fair Hall of Fame award in 2005, recognizing a person for their contributions to the 4-H program. He also started Two County Dusters Equestrian Drill Team. During retirement Dick was part of a food grade corn corporation called Quality Iowa Maize (QIM). He has also been a member of the local Masons and Shrine organizations. Lastly, Dick is a member of the Home Town Pride organization and Chairman of the Boot project.
Pat and Nancy Corkrean - Winterset
Pat and Nancy Corkrean are truly pillars of Madison County. They are successful entrepreneurs, leaders of several non-profit organizations in Madison County and are primarily responsible for St. Joseph Catholic Church having a new building with room for expansion. As the Corkrean’s business ventures succeeded, their amount of community investment increased. Most of the new housing built in the Winterset area are Corkrean homes. Winterset’s new hotel is also a product of their efforts; even the local photos in the rooms were taken by Nancy. Pat and Nancy also played a critical part in the organization and fundraising efforts to open the John Wayne Birthplace Museum and the Iowa Quilt Museum.
Mary (Kimberly) Rueter - DeWitt
Retired from her position as general manager and managing editor of her community newspaper, the (DeWitt) Observer, Mary had a career of more than 41 years. Her experience in the newspaper field cultivated an interest in transparency and openness in government as well as the need for freedom of information. Mary has a long history of volunteerism, ranging from 16 years as a member of the Mississippi Bend AEA board of directors and long-time service on local education and hospital foundations. She also served on the DeWitt Chamber and Development Company’s board of director’s committee and was president of the Iowa Newspaper Foundation.
Vicki Lage - Perry   
Vicki was the Perry representative for Youth for Understanding (YFU) for eight years in the 1990s. As a volunteer, she recruited host families for foreign exchange students in the local school district and helped plan activities for the students and families in her area. The Lage family also hosted four students themselves. In 2000, Vicki became involved with the Iowa State Fair and the Blue Ribbon Foundation. She was active with the planning of the Corndog Kickoff Benefit Auction as well as volunteering at the Fair. Above are just a few highlights of Vicki’s life as a volunteer. More recently, Vicki has spent hours serving at local businesses including the Lutheran Home, Spring Valley Assisted Living Facility, Hotel Pattee, and La Poste.

Joy Thiel - Reinbeck   
Kris and Steve Gunderson - Odebolt   
Gregg Obren - Clinton   
Jody Rudolph - Anita
Julie Hitchins - Marshalltown   
Georgia Campbell - Berwick
Janet Wissler - Oelwein
Bill and Connie Ridgley - Panora  
Carol Messer - Yarmouth
Barbara Kniff McCulla - Pella